10 Tips On Approaching & Dealing With Negative People
One of the largest sources of negative energy is from negative people. It’s one of the most prominent aspects of millions of people. Because of this, I’m sure that you’ve had several of these types of people in your life, whether they are a friend or a coworker.
While the go-to advice in these instances is to merely avoid these individuals, it’s not always so simple.
This negative person might be someone you have to work with no matter what.
They could be a family member as well.
And even though I said it’s a matter of reducing their influence on you in the past, that method might not even be the best option. Especially after doing some digging for this article and considering other aspects.
So here are some tips and my thoughts on this particular group of people. From approaching and engaging with them properly to reducing how much influence they have on you too. Try these out and let me know how it goes.
Avoid Deep Arguments
Never, under any circumstances, get into a debate with someone negative. Not only are arguments a waste of time in general with little to no benefit, but it’s especially worse with negative people.
I normally think back to what Dale Carnegie wrote in his book How To Win Friends & Influence People for this. In the book, he too suggested avoiding arguments. Primarily because it only serves as an ego boost to you. But what you gain in a little bit of pride your opponent gains hatred and resentment towards you. This strains the bonds we have.
Now imagine that with someone who is already pretty down on life for whatever reason.
This time though it’ll be worse.
Of course, people will resist change. But when people are negative they’re pretty stubborn about their views to an excessive degree.
No matter what you say, they likely have several reasons to not change their mind.
So in most cases not only will you not “win the argument” but you’ll be sucked into a pit of negativity. Not to mention that person may view you as less, even if they “won” or “lost.”
Be Empathetic Towards Negative People
I’m sure we’ve had conversations before where we are stressed or worked up and someone tells us to “just relax”. Like with other types of conversations like that, this tactic doesn’t work at all.
This is especially true with negative people.
The reason someone thinks negatively is that something pushed them to be this way. This is key in us understanding other people.
So instead of offering pointless advice, take some time to lend them an ear and listen to them. When you understand a person’s situation or where they are coming from, you can offer better advice.
Being empathetic is really that easy.
Assist Where You Can
Being empathetic isn’t the only way you can lend a helping hand. There are other forms of helping. Take complaining. While I’ve said in the past complaining doesn’t get us anywhere, it can actually be a starting process to solving a problem.
The issue with complaining is that most don’t do anything about the situation they are in. Hence why it’s so negative.
Indeed complaining is a form of seeking help. We merely don’t register it that way initially. So do yourself a favour and when you hear someone complain, ask them “Are you okay?” Or “Can I do anything to help you?” You’ll be surprised by the response.
Keep The Topics Light
Negative people sometimes show their face only when certain topics are brought up. From politics to things like work or school.
In these instances, it’s clear that the person is stuck within their own negativity. Furthermore, it’s probably not going to be enough to sift through and address that issue in a single conversation.
So instead of trying to help the person in that instance, go and change the topic. There are plenty of topics that people respond positively to. From daily occurrences to new and upcoming films. Keeping the topic on something where a person feels positive with will help.
One way to transition to this is merely telling a person, “Okay. Let’s change the topic.”
I find that being blunt/direct in this case really helps overall in handling and conversing with negative people. It not only shows you care and paying attention to them but that you’re there to support them.
Being able to pivot from topic to topic is a necessary aspect in engaging with people who are negative.
Ignore Negative Comments
Much like with venting, some people go off on a tangent to blow of steam. In this case, it can be negative energy. Instead of indulging in it, one way to respond is by saying “okay” or “I see”. Those responses tend to be pits that cut off conversations entirely.
But while you’re doing that, make sure that you provide enthusiasm and affirmations whenever that person is being positive.
Doing this enough can cause the person to believe that positivity pays off. This is key because it encourages the person to think positive and to be more positive.
Praise Certain Aspects Of The Person
While it’s easy to think that negative people exclusively affect those around them, it’s worth keeping in mind there’s more to it. In order for people to be negative, most people tend to have negative views about themselves too.
While those places are clearly not good, this tip is a strategy to help those recover from those places: highlight positive aspects of that person.
Take the time to ask yourself these questions:
What’s one aspect about them that you like?
What’s one thing you think they’re good at?
Is there one good thing they did recently you could point out to them?
The idea about this is looking for positive parts of their lives and praising that person for it. It’s similar to the previous tip where you’re reinforcing positive aspects. This strategy makes it more concrete.
Don’t Be Quick To Judge Negative People
Based on these tips thus far, it’s clear there is more to negative people than you’d think. Just because someone is negative doesn’t always mean they are like that.
People can change.
And while we naturally resist change, it still is a possibility.
The best we can do is to avoid judging people and paying attention to if we are or not. One quick way to tell is by our own body language. When we have negative thoughts, we tend to position ourselves differently than if we have positive thoughts.
As such, be in the state of mind that you expect the best within them. That attitude may surprise you as it’ll change what you say and how you present yourself when engaging with people.
Keep Your Distance If Necessary
While we shouldn’t be quick to judge them, we still have to face the fact that negativity is still draining. We can only handle so much of it before we are exhausted.
The tips I mentioned above can help in keeping your energy high, but there are other things you can consider too. Some ideas are:
- Focus on making them feel positive rather than act positively.
- Take special care to look after your positive space. If negative people are invading that space, take a step back or walk away.
- Prioritize what you can do right now to help them rather than trying to solve and fix their problems right now.
Act Rather Than React
Again, someone who is negative wasn’t there by choice.
Something happened that caused them to get into this state.
While you may not be able to solve or help with that root cause, the fact still remains that negative people often fall into more problems.
But there are obvious signs that show up before any additional events show up. It’s during these times where you want to be helping negative people. This sort of approach is better as we often wait until someone gets angry or goes through a depression episode before actually helping out.
As these tips suggest, you can share your positivity wherever you can and whatever stage someone is at. So don’t be afraid to give a person a compliment if their body language is negative or it seems like they are dealing with difficult thoughts.
We have no clue how a simple act of kindness can impact a person’s day.
You Can Always Reduce Contact With Negative People
The final tip I have to share is more of a reminder:
If all else fails, you can always reduce contact or avoid them.
While this shouldn’t be your first point of action, the fact still remains that negative people drain us mentally. Not to mention we only have so much time in a day and in our lives.
There comes a point where spending too much time with negative people will affect us and we’re faced with a choice:
Move on, or continue to wallow in their negativity.
By all means, help others who need help. But your time is important and negative people will waste time. Especially if they are reluctant to change their lives or seek help.
This Is How To Approach And Handle Negative People
Negativity is not something we can purge entirely from our lives. There will always be negative people no matter where we look. The main importance here is focusing more on how we can help those who are in our lives and are negative.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon